Mine and Toby’s scary ordeal…


Toby in a rush! Last week I included a photo of Toby confronting a highland cow on a recent walk. I have to say that I think it’s so much better to see these beautiful animals grazing rather than watch a tractor crash through the Heath destroying much in its path!

However the cows’ presence indirectly created a terrifying chain of events for Toby and yours truly last week…

We were walking along together quite happily about a mile from home, when I suddenly heard Toby let out a cross between an aggressive growl and a yelp. He bolted passed me and sprinted up and over the crest of the hill and out of sight. My immediate thought was that he had been bitten by an adder (we had seen one earlier).

I tried to run up the hill to calm him down and check him over but he had completely disappeared. OK, stay calm Franklin – I’m a mile from home, alone and without my mobile – what should I do?

If he’s been bitten he may be lying under a bush in pain, if he’s bolted home does he know the way? Will he cross two busy roads safely?!  At this kind of moment so many thoughts pass through your mind. Luckily I stay pretty calm in these kinds of situations and I decided, after checking the immediate area and calling his name constantly, I had to go home and get help to search for him.

I knew that I was taking a risk going home, as he may pick up my scent and follow me. I ran as fast as I could home. It’s not nice sprinting over a mile in wellies but needs must!

Eventually I turned the corner into our close, wheezing and coughing and staggered the last few paces before literally collapsing on my doorstep –  I was greeted by Toby who shied away thinking he was going to get told off.

Thank God he was safe! Or was he? Had he been bitten? After checking with our vet and going over the story in detail with him we concluded that he must have licked or sniffed the electric fence meant for the cattle and got more than he or I bargained for!  I realise how lucky we both were and vowed to get back to my former fitness!

Have you had any dog-walking ordeals? Let me know about them by leaving a comment in the box below.

Dale x


  1. Alex Arnold-Jones July 13, 2009 at 2:51 pm -  Reply

    Hiya! Its Ali and Darcy AJ, we heard of your experience with Toby, Ali told us. Anyway as you probably know Toastie has had alot of crazy experiences! Infact recently Toastie entered our sports day, It was a saturday and the year seven boys relay was on the last 100 metres and our very unfortunate friend had hold of toastie. He made a huge leap and our friend accidently let go of the lead! Toastie sprinted off down the track, all the boys were running out of his way. Toastie had his ears back, his tale down, he was really going for gold! Mum started shrieking ‘Pete! Pete! Do something!’ By this time dad was already running down the track after toastie infront of everyone! He quickly stopped and turned bright red. Meanwhile Toastie had finished in 4th place! The headmaster had seen everything and thought it was hilarious! phew.
    Ali and Darcy AJ

  2. Margaret July 13, 2009 at 2:59 pm -  Reply

    Glad to hear that you and especially your dog Toby is fine and the story had a happy ending. The pictures of your dog are gorgeous. We have a golden retriever called Oliver who is six years old but thinks he is a puppy. We regularly walk him over at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire and we always keep him on a lead until its safe to let him off. But on one occasion we decided as no one was around to let him have a run. Well he decided to slip through the fence and disappear completely ignoring our cries. To our absolute horror when we found him there he was standing right under the biggest horse you could ever wish to see. The breeder who we got him from had horses and his mum was used to trotting alongside so I guess it rubbed off on him. We called him very quietly and thankfully retrieved him safely from underneath the horse. He loved it though because he got extra special fuss and cuddles when we got him back.

  3. Joyce Pate July 14, 2009 at 8:30 am -  Reply

    I had a Beardie called Charlie, unfortunately he died when he was fourteen. Looking at your photographs of Toby it looks like my Charlie has come on this earth for a second time. If you could only see them you would know what I mean. His Granfather was the supreme champion at Crufts so you will appreciate how beautiful he was.I continue to look at your photos.as it brings back wonderful memories of “Charlie”

  4. gill graham July 14, 2009 at 9:12 am -  Reply

    Hi Dale, Dogs do cause you some heart stopping moments! My choccy Lab, Rumi caused consternation for my brother and sister in law when they were looking after Rumi whilst I was away doing granny duty. 10pm one night they’re out for a pre bedtime stoll with Rumi and their dog Jasper, when Rumi (age 5mths) was mooed very loudly at by a cow , who had probably been rudely awakened! Rumi took to her heels and bolted down the road, hotly pursued by my brother. He, like youself had visons of dog colliding with traffic, getting lost etc. None of it, he rounded the corner for home and there sat Rumi, waiting patiently by the back door. Not bad for a baby away from home!!! Toby still looks adorable!

  5. Jan Mayhew July 14, 2009 at 10:32 am -  Reply

    Oh my gosh, Toby is so gorgeous, you must have been frantic Dale. I have a miniature black poodle puppy called Freddie who thinks everyone is his friend! He is 8 months old now but when he was only 4 months I was told I should let him off the lead so I arranged with a friend who has a beagle pup the same age to meet for a walk. To arrive at the field we walked through woods and decided to let them off. Well they dashed off in completely the wrong direction and in spite of calls and whistles disappeared completely. Frantically we searched and like you decided the best thing was to retrace our footsteps . We found them sitting outside my friends house having crossed a busy road to get there!!!
    Dogs how we love them!! xxx
    Would love to send a photo but for some reason can’t.

  6. kate Millard July 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi, glad Toby was fine. My Beardie is called Sophie. A few years ago whilest walking arround the edge of 5 large fields used for vairious sports. She suddenly dissapeared, dispite much calling she did not come back!! I found her at the other end of the playing fields in the middle of a football match. She was defending the ball with great determination. She had stopped a local league game. The ref was standing with hands on hips ,not looking very happy with the situation. I felt soo embarraced retreaving my dog and returning their ball.
    Sophie is now 13 and we are still waiting for her to grow up.

  7. Ayliffe Stevens July 14, 2009 at 4:10 pm -  Reply

    I understand how you felt when you lost Toby.
    I adopted nine month old Jack Russell Ted and a fortnight later decided to let him off his lead on the chalk downs near our home. He ran off uphill in the direction of a busy road and I nearly had a heart attack chasing him.
    I lost sight of him and returned to the field below wondering if I would ever see him again. Then I saw my husband walking towards me. He’d come to tell me not to worry as Ted had returned home and entered the house through the cat flap!
    Thankfully he’s a lot bigger now and can’t get through the cat flap.

  8. Heidi, Somerset July 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm -  Reply

    Ah poor Toby! Hope he ok now and you have got your breath back Dale. Yes, beware of electric fences..many dogs get a ‘kick’ from them and don’t understand, so they think it is you thats done it.
    My story is of my 15 month old black lab Flynn, on our usual walk with hubby and I, retrieving his tennis ball. A couple of weeks ago, he ran through some ‘foxtail’ or wheatgrass.He lost interest in his ball slightly and kept tipping his head. I was pretty sure he had something in his ear so took him home. He was miserable all night, not his normal self even tough i could’nt see anyhing in his ear. Took him to vets next morning and she removed 2 small green spikey bits from his inner ear! They had come off the wheatgrass as he ran through it with ears flapping. So..another warning for any country dog walkers..check their paws and eyes too for grass!He is back to his normal mad self again thank goodness.

  9. LIZ STRACHAN July 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm -  Reply

    So glad you are both safe and sound.
    We had an Old English Sheepdog who we took walking on a well know jetty in the North East of Scotland. It was a very warm day and all of a sudden my son Kevin and I said where’s Jasper and when we looked over the jetty he had walked right over the edge and into the water where the fishermen were mending their nets in the boat.
    I think they got a bigger surprize than he did.
    He quickly swam the few yards to shore where I examined him as I could see blood coming from his mouth. He had bitten his tongue on the impact and none the worse thanks goodness.
    This very soggy doggy jumped into the car and I drove home needless to say with all the windows open as he was steaming with the heat of the day.
    Lots of treats given when we arrived home.

  10. sandi baxter July 14, 2009 at 8:09 pm -  Reply

    arrh,……..im so glad ure toby was ok dale ,he is georgous, a luvely dog….soooo sweet little thing, and u always talking about him………..so pleased he is ok..luv sandi xxx

  11. Marg July 14, 2009 at 11:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Dale, I had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel,she was a skinny adorable little mite. we live outside a busy little town,the main road taken by people traveling to work runs quite near our back garden,one morning she dissapeared from the garden which is long and has a lot of trees but we thought was well fenced in, it wasnt,not for Rita,(after the lovely Miss Hayward with the red hair),she got out and set off a real hunt,I was exhausted and crying,I thought the police will know what to do so I phoned and blubbered out my tale of woe,he asked me some questions and then said ‘ shes in the cells come and get her’.I flew down though the town to the station and was escorted by a big Bobby down to the cells and there sat my little bundle shaking with fear. We had a stone wall built starting the same day,goodbye holiday,but at least she was safe,they can ruin your health and your bank balence but we idiots can not live without them,
    Good Luck with Toby I hope he brings you lots of joy.

  12. Kaley Jones July 15, 2009 at 1:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Dale. You might remember me, my mum & sister when we came up to QVC a few years ago to meet Charlie & we saw you as well.
    What lovely photos you have on here of Toby so cute, i’m glad he is doing so well bless him.
    We had a Bearded Collie (black & white) my brother got him for me when I was 6 I was into 101 Dalmations so I called him Pongo, but sadly we had to put him to sleep last year he was really poorly. He was 14 & was the best dog ever.
    Me & my mum can’t believe it your Toby is the spitting image of Pongo, he is like Pongo all over again. If you saw a photo of Pongo you would say that is like your Toby.
    I had to send a message to you they are so alike.
    Take care Dale
    From Kaley

  13. Dale Franklin July 15, 2009 at 7:45 pm -  Reply

    Thank you so much for all of your comments. I’m sure there will be readers who can tell similar stories with out a happy ending – “There by the Grace of God …” Reading your various accounts made me realise how much Pets mean to us all. They are messy,expensive to keep, a tie when you want to go on holiday , embarrassing etc – But I wouldn’t change Toby for the world ! Thanks again Dale x

  14. Jean, Somerset. July 17, 2009 at 7:55 am -  Reply

    I had three 6 month old labrador puppies which I had bred myself. One morning I took the little bitch puppy for a walk up the lane by our property and then went a little way down the cycle track. On my return I went to put the little bitch back into the kennels with her two brothers, but they were too quick for me and they escaped, I managed to catch one of the dog puppies, but the other dog and bitch who had her lead on still were off down the drive and then out into the lane. Panic, panic, by the time I got to the lane they had disappeared, oh which way do I go where do I look, I still had my training whistle around my neck so I started to whistle them and decided to go right. A little way down the lane they appeared happily running alongside each other the dog puppy holding the lead of his sister. I managed to catch them and get them back into the kennels.I expect she said come with me and I will show you where I have just been. Luckily for them and me no traffic came along at the time, I dread to think what would have happened if it had.
    I am so glad you dog is okay dale, the electric fence will give them an awful shock. He is a gorgeous looking dog, full of fun and love.

  15. Carol Macdonald July 18, 2009 at 9:20 am -  Reply

    Hi Dale – my dogwalking adventure began one winters day when I was walking my spaniel, Nell through the beautiful village of Grimshader on the Isle of Lewis. I had only just moved to the village and was still in awe of the views over the lochs and hills. As we walked along I saw a hilltop from which I imagined the view must be breathtaking so Nell and I set off – her on a long lead because there were sheep around us. Got to the top of the hill and sure enough the view was lovely but then a sheep moved, Nell lurched, I slipped and down the hill we went – me on my butt, Nell bouncing along beside me cos for some reason I hung onto her lead. Flew over rocky bits, wet bits, the lot! Came to land in a crumpled heap at the bottom with one leg stuck through a fence. Lay there stunned and bruised when this flipping great rescue helicopter – out on a training mission – skimmed right over me like a scene from James Bond movie! I could have done with rescuing but no, it flew off, leaving me to crawl home exhausted but with a most impressive selection of bruises to show off (to my nearest and dearest only!) Ironically enough, I later met and married the guy whose croft the hill was on and when I told him the story, he said rather unsympathetically, “you shouldn’t have been in my croft anyway!” Hmmm

  16. julie July 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm -  Reply

    Oh Dale.
    How scary, you must have been terrified.
    Glad Toby is ok, and hope you have recovered from your scare.
    Love Jules

  17. Anne McNair July 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Dale, glad Toby is ok, so worrying when something happens toa bleoved pet.
    I have two cocker spaniels Hamish(8)and Isla,now 6. While walking them in the local field Hamish ran through the fence which he does regularly, and Isla, then aged 18 months, followed. Hamish reappeared, but there was no sign of Isla. As it was October, we and our frend who own a couple of gundogs soon ran out of light and since the field was bounded on one side by the North Sea, we sadly concluded that she had fallen over the cliff. I called the coastguard the following morning to ask if they would let me know if a dog was washed up, and to my surprise they offered to come out to look for her. One of them abseiled down the cliff and found her, put her in a sack and brought her up, and for his trouble she piddled down his back! She had been missing for over 24 hours, had been climbing up and down the rocks to avoid the tides, and her only injury was a cut lip and a few missing front teeth. Now she hates it when the weather is bad and she can hear the wind and waves in the gully where she went missing. We were stars in the local paper and on the local TV news, and I can’t thank the Coastguard guys enough, they even came to visit her about a month later to check she was ok.

  18. Dale Franklin August 31, 2009 at 10:06 pm -  Reply

    Jean your story is similar to mine except X 3 ! It is a horrible feeling in your stomach followed by such relief. As I said before there will be readers who don’t have a happy ending to share and my heart goes out to them – This time we were lucky. Carol, great story, especially the Punch Line ! Hi Jules we both recovered pretty quickly and I made a point of walking the same route the next day (on a lead this time) and he didn’t bat an eye when we passsed by the spot – dogs? Ceasar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) says “they live in the now” but I thought Toby might become stressed at that point, but he didn’t.
    Anne, WOW, how lucky were you both and what a great service from the Coastguard, brilliant. Thank you all so much. Dale x

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